Budapest

Short history

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, has a history that dates back to the Roman Empire. Originally two separate cities, Buda and Pest, situated on opposite sides of the Danube River, they were united to form Budapest in 1873. Throughout its history, Budapest has been influenced by various cultures, including the Romans, Turks, Austrians, and Soviets.

The city has seen its fair share of struggles, including invasions, occupations, and revolutions. One of the most significant events in Budapest’s history was the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, where citizens rose up against Soviet control, only to be brutally suppressed.

Today, Budapest is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world to explore its historic sites and experience its blend of Eastern and Western influences.

Geography – location, size, climate

Budapest is located in the north-central part of Hungary. Situated along the Danube River, the city covers an area of approximately 525 square kilometers, making it one of the largest cities in Europe.

Budapest has a temperate continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature in the summer months ranges from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius, while in the winter months, temperatures can drop below freezing. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, with occasional snowfall during the winter months.

Due to its geographical location, Budapest experiences four distinct seasons, each offering a it’s own charm.

Population – ethnicity, language, religion

The majority of the population in Budapest is Hungarian, with a small percentage of other ethnic groups such as Roma, Germans, and Slovaks.

Hungarian is the official language spoken in Budapest, with English and German also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and among the younger population.

In terms of religion, the majority of the population in Budapest identifies as Roman Catholic, followed by Protestant and Jewish communities. There is also a growing number of people who identify as non-religious or atheist.

Main sights and landmarks

Iconic landmark in Budapest is for sure the Buda Castle, a historic palace complex that offers panoramic views of the city. Another beautiful sight is the Hungarian Parliament Building, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture located along the Danube River.

Visitors to Budapest can explore the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fairy-tale-like fortress with towers and turrets with breathtaking views of the city. The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge to connect Buda and Pest, is another sight worth visiting.

Heroes’ Square is an iconic square with statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Finally, we should mention famous thermal baths, such as the Széchenyi Baths or Gellért Baths, where visitors can relax and rejuvenate in natural hot springs.

Food

Goulash is a typical Hungarian dish, a hearty stew made with beef, vegetables, and paprika. It is often served with a side of dumplings or bread. Goulash is a popular comfort food in Hungary and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

There are also a variety of street food options in Budapest. For example, lángos, a popular Hungarian street food, is made from deep-fried dough that is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Another must-try street food is kürtőskalács, also known as chimney cake, a sweet pastry that is cooked over an open flame and coated with sugar and cinnamon. Both lángos and kürtőskalács are beloved by locals and visitors alike for their delicious flavors and unique textures.

For a taste of local produce, head to one of the city’s many markets, like the Great Market Hall, where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses.

Souvenirs

Hungarian paprika, known for its red color and spicy taste, is a popular choice for souvenir from this country. You can find paprika in various forms such as powder, paste, or even in decorative containers.

For those interested in traditional Hungarian crafts, consider purchasing handmade lace or embroidered textiles. These pieces present the country’s culture and make for a special keepsake.

Food and wine lovers could pick up some Hungarian marzipan or Tokaji wine, a sweet dessert wine that is famous in the region. Both make for delicious gifts or treats for yourself.

Lastly, in the local markets you can find unique items like hand-painted ceramics, traditional folk art, or even a piece of Hungarian porcelain. 

Fun facts

  1. Budapest is actually made up of two separate cities, Buda and Pest, which are divided by the Danube River. The two parts of the city are connected by several bridges, the most famous of which is the Chain Bridge.
  2. The city is home to the third largest Parliament building in the world, which is an iconic symbol of Budapest. It is also one of the oldest legislative buildings in Europe.
  3. Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, with over 100 natural hot springs scattered throughout the city. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest and most popular baths in Budapest.
  4. Budapest is home to the oldest underground railway system in continental Europe, known as the Millennium Underground Railway. It has been in operation since 1896.